Announcing: You Belong Here – Artists Rediscovering Salford’s green spaces

The University of Salford Art Collection and Salford Museum & Art Gallery have commissioned four Salford-based artists Jack Brown, Cheddar Gorgeous, Hilary Jack and Lizzie King to make work for You Belong Here: Artists Rediscovering Salford’s Green Spaces, a new exhibition and events programme.

Visit the new project website – You Belong Here – or find out more below.

Part of Rediscovering Salford, a city-wide programme which highlights and celebrates Salford’s green spaces – inspired by the launch of RHS Garden Bridgewater in May 2021 – the exhibition at Salford Museum & Art Gallery presents the four new artist commissions alongside original archive material, photographs and historic artworks from the Museum and Local History Library, the University of Salford and The Lowry collections. Together, they rediscover some of the city’s unique history – and overlooked or forgotten stories – as well as offering new narratives about our local environments.

Presented at the same time The Storm Cone by Laura Daly with music composed by Lucy Pankhurst, is an immersive artwork located in Salford’s Peel Park, that reveals lost park bandstands and their forgotten histories. At its centre will be a journey through music and sound that considers our relationship with the past, while charting the fading away of a brass band during the interwar years (1918 – 1939). 

The exhibition displays historical photographs and artworks highlighting some of Salford’s parks and ‘lost’ halls. Included are works by two of Salford’s most well-known artists, L.S. Lowry and Harold Riley. Over the years Lowry produced various sketches and paintings of Peel Park, established in 1846, making it one of the UK’s oldest public parks, and a selection are on display here.

The new artists’ commissions build on existing partnerships with artist-led spaces Paradise Works and Islington Mill in Salford, demonstrating a shared, ongoing commitment to supporting emerging, established and early-career practitioners based in the city.

Selected in collaboration with the studios are Hilary Jack and Jack Brown from Paradise Works and Cheddar Gorgeous and Lizzie King from Islington Mill’s creative community. Working variously across sculpture, installation, video, printmaking, photography, and drag performance, the selected artists exemplify the breadth of practice and talent to be found in Salford’s rich arts ecology. As a legacy of the project, elements of all four new commissions will be acquired into the University’s permanent collection.

Jack Brown‘s installation and video-based works explore the more playful or mischevious uses of public spaces – following the ‘desire lines, tracks through the brambles and holes in the fence’ to explore ‘rope swings, secret dens, secluded corners and drinking spots’.

Inspired by local memories, rumours and history, Cheddar Gorgeous uses the art of drag to explore the story of 18th century figure, Madam Mort aka ‘the grey lady’ – now said to haunt the woodland in Little Hulton as a ghostly apparition. 

Lizzie King responds to Peel Park – somewhere she has enjoyed visiting since childhood. Her printmaking and photography based work focuses on the park bench as a symbol of rest, relaxation and belonging in public spaces: “the bench doesn’t ask us to do anything, it just asks us to be”

Hilary Jack explores the changing architecture of the city – from the historic mansions and mills to contemporary towerblocks and terraces. Her series of sculptural birdboxes question the impact of city growth on the local environment and wildlife populations.

You Belong Here: Artists Rediscovering Salford’s Green Spaces is led by the University of Salford Art Collection and Salford Museum & Art Gallery, on behalf of Salford Culture and Place Partnership. It is part of the wider Rediscovering Salford programme which is generously supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

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Image: Cheddar Gorgeous. Courtesy the artist